February 27th was a night of musical talent at Penn State Abington. As the audience crowded Room 9, no one knew quite what to expect. But expectations were definitely exceeded as each performer took the stage, filling the room with inspiration.
The host of the night was comedian Jessi Campbell. Jessi has performed in a variety of places, from college campuses to military bases, and has won awards for her comedy gold. She was the People’s Choice winner at the Aspen Rooftop Comedy festival in 2009 and was nominated for Female Performer of the Year in the college market in 2013.
The first performer of the night was singer Candice Green. Candice sang Good Life by One Republic. Taking a seat on a stool and tapping her hand against her knee to the beat, her voice boomed across the room. Candice made it look easy, like she wasn’t nervous at all. Her family members sat proudly in front of me, taking video and smiling with pride.
Next up was African Dance Crew, made up of Agar E., Emma E., Lola O., Koboi Y., and Mohammad U. ADC danced to traditional African music, with a twist. They threw in upbeat hip hop beats to create their own take on traditional African dance. They all dressed in traditional African clothing, sporting patterns of earthy tones. From the stomps of their feet to the way they put everything into their dance moves, they made the whole room crave a dance session.
Following African Dance Crew was singer Dan Truong. Dan sang Sam Smith’s Grammy Award-winning hit ‘Stay With Me.’ As Dan projected into the mic, the crowd clapped to the beat, making it feel like Dan was a Grammy winning star himself.
After Dan’s performance, a 20 minute intermission was announced. Intermission featured a glorious cupcake tower, bringing the little kid out in all of us. After 20 minutes of cupcake eating, the show was ready to continue.
The next group took the stage ready to perform, but the mics… not so much. After the mic issue was fixed, they were ready to start their performance. The instrumental and vocal group consisted of Steve G. on acoustic guitar, Tim K. on the keyboard, and vocals by Osh O. and Dave L. They performed a mash up of ‘Don’t’ by Ed Sheeran and ‘R U Mine’ by The Arctic Monkeys. Osh and Dave’s voices flowed smoothly together creating a captivating performance.
Big Kidz Dance Crew was up next. The dance crew consisted of James P., Anthony L., Reza M., and Sato N. BKDC danced to a mix of today’s rap/hip hop, putting the spot light on each member of the group as they threw in their own moves. As each member took the spotlight, the crowd gasped in excitement and cheered as each difficult move was executed flawlessly. It’s safe to say by the end of their act, we all wanted to go to the club and dance our hearts out.
The last performance was singer James Cannon. James sang ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran. The mix of his acoustic guitar and vocals resulted in a breathtaking performance. The intensity of his voice exhibited his passion for music. People stood up, one by one, clapping and singing along with James. It was like Ed Sheeran himself was on that stage. By the end of his performance, the audience stood as a whole, cheering loudly.
After all the performers finished, voting began. A can with each performers name sat on stage. Sections of the audience were called up to deposit their ticket into the can of the performer they wished to vote for.
While the votes were tallied, a Lip Sync battle ensued. Songs featured in the battle were ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ by Brittney Spears, ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey and ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift. Each contestant in the battle made sure to involve the crowd, leaving them smiling and singing every song at the top of their lungs, filling everyone in the room with pure joy.
Then all of the sudden, Bruno Mars decided to show up and sing Uptown Funk! Just kidding! Jairus James, the winner of last year’s showcase, performed ‘Uptown Funk’ and let me tell you, this guy sure did pull off Bruno Mars incredibly well. Bringing the crowd to their feet and getting them involved in the song made the atmosphere truly feel like we were at a Bruno Mars concert. I think its safe to say everyone’s face hurt from smiling so much.
After the battle, and Jairus’s fantastic performance, the winners were announced.
Taking third place was instrumental/vocal group of Osh, Dave, Steve, and Tim. Congratulations guys!
Second place went to Big Kidz Dance Crew. You all did an incredible job!
First place went to James Cannon. Congratulations James, your performance was absolutely breathtaking!
This year’s showcase was definitely something for the history books. With a ‘We Are’ chant echoing through the room bringing the night to an end, everyone realized just how proud they were to be a Penn State student.
If you missed the event or just want to relive the night, check out this YouTube playlist of the entire evening: